A FIRST FOR HODGES, BLUE ZONES

by Dr. John Meyer, President, Hodges University

As we prepare to welcome the year 2019, it’s that time when people start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Typically,those resolutions start with promising to eat healthier and get more exercise.

It’s these two resolutions that we, at Hodges University, have taken seriously by putting them into action. We are proud to be the first university in the region to become a Blue Zones approved work site for our campuses in both Naples and Fort Myers.

We’ve all heard about Blue Zones and how this initiative is designed to help us be healthier. From the standpoint of a workplace, healthier employees are more productive, health care costs are lowered, and there is an overall improvement in the quality of life. Thanks to our School of Health Sciences team, the idea of becoming Blue Zones approved became a reality in September.

We celebrated with a plant-based cooking demonstration during an employee-wide meeting. Along with many of the faculty and staff, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the dish was to prepare, and how delicious it tasted.

Faculty and staff were each given a “Healthy Hodges” plant for their offices to remind them of the importance of healthier habits.

While this is all well and good, everyone knows that changing behavior to embrace healthier choices is an ongoing process. Hodges University will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in the year 2020, so we decided to add a challenge for us.

By the time we celebrate our anniversary, our goal is to have collectively walked 30,000 miles. On our employee portal, we can log in and record how many miles each of us walked each month. Every few months, we’ll let all our faculty and staff know how we’re doing in reaching our goal. This internal site also has plenty of healthy tips and recipes to keep us inspired, plus nutrition and fitness information. We also have a section we call “techie tools” that gives our faculty and staff a variety of apps that can help them reach their health goals.

We all know there is power in knowledge, and we hope that Healthy Hodges will extend beyond our faculty and staff to their friends, families, and perhaps most importantly, to the students we serve.

The hardest step is always the first, but with these initiatives, from our Blue Zones approved workplaces to our Healthy Hodges internal site and the 30,000 miles challenge, we hope to keep reminding ourselves of the importance of taking that first step, regardless of how small or big it might be.

This is one New Year’s resolution that collectively, we can all keep. Here’s to a prosperous New Year and most of all, to your health!.

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